THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 1, 2008
a luxurious CHRISTMAS
S2 • THEEDGE SINGAPORE
| DECEMBER 1, 2008
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, what with the lights already up on Orchard Road, carols being played on the airwaves and finishing our annual Have Yourself A Luxurious Christmas pullout — a 28-page labour of love by the editors, writers and designers that we dare say is even better than last year’s. We’ve covered a wide range of topics that anticipate every seasonal dilemma, including gift giving. Every year, we go through the agony of what to get for shy aunt Matilda, spunky uncle Roy, the lovable office colleague. The list just goes on. Take a look at some of the great gifts we found so you don’t have to waste precious time searching. And, in the true spirit of Christmas, we found gifts whose sales proceeds go to charity. Also getting into the spirit of the season are three top decision makers who took time off their tight schedules to pose for the camera and share with us their beliefs. We’d like to thank Nash Benjamin, CEO of FJ Benjamin; Ong Khee Meng, managing director of Lianbee-Jeco Pte Ltd, and Ong Ban, CEO of Sincere Watch. For partygoers, we let you in on the best places to dine at and bubblies and wines you can buy your hosts; for the hosts, we have tips on how to plan a successful party. Let your hair down and party hard, by all means, but do remember to eat sensibly or spend the better part of January trying to shed the extra kilos. To help you do that, we sought out specialists to guide you on healthier ways to celebrate. Finally, those planning a great escape this year can look forward to something different — a green Christmas. If these features and articles don’t get you in the mood for Christmas, we don’t know what will. It still doesn’t look like Christmas to you? I suggest you hum a catchy Yuletide tune and see how infectious it will be — soon all those around you will join in. I do recommend, however, that you only do this in the presence of good friends and not while travelling alone on the MRT. Have a joyful time!
Gifts Scratch your head in confusion no more, we bring you some cool gifts to treasure
Gifts Taking stock of time is easier with these exquisite horological gems
Gifts These great ideas come all tied up in box and bow Festive Wishes Decision makers take the time to reﬂect on the joy of the holidays Beauty and Grooming A fresh complexion is a good start to a fabulous party
Festive Dining We dish out some great dining places for your special meal
Entertaining Throw the perfect party with cues from our seasoned hosts
Health Experts talk about eating sensibly in this time of indulgence
Bubblies and wines Sparkling fun can be had with some unusual suspects
Travel Take a green tour with our guide of eco-conscious spots
THE WEEK OF DECEMBER 1, 2008
a luxurious CHRISTMAS
EDITOR/REGIONAL MANAGING DIRECTOR Tan Boon Kean (email@example.com) SECTION EDITOR Audrey Simon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Chew Ru Ju, Ezanor Kasah
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DESIGN DESK Tan Siew Ching, Christine Ong, Chan Yoke Lin, Jamy Gan
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
MONTBLANC This diamond charm bracelet by Montblanc comes in 18ct red, white and yellow gold. Retails at $35,790. Available at Montblanc Ngee Ann City boutique.
CARTIER The red box designed by Cartier in 1970 still thrills recipients, because they know it holds either exquisite jewellery or timepieces from Cartier. Make that trip to the Cartier boutique and walk out with a gift presented stylishly on padded black velvet or white silk and protected by red Morocco leather.
CHARLES TYRWHITT Give him a new wardrobe for the New Year by selecting shirts and accessories by British brand Charles Tyrwhitt. Formal and casual shirts and suits are tailor-made to fit any body shape. Don’t forget to check out the wide selection of ties.
The art of giving Can’t find a suitable gift for that special someone or even yourself? Audrey Simon did some searching and found some cool gifts.
CELINE Soft and plush is how one would describe the Pillow bag by Celine. Made of fine leather, this bag features pale-gold or silver hardware, with a buckle shaped like the hair jewellery by Celine. Now, wish hard and you might find it wrapped under your Christmas tree.
BULGARI The Bulgari Silver and Precious Gifts collection is a sight to behold. Feast your eyes on a glittering array of cufflinks, key holders, money clips, tie bars, tuxedo studs and writing instruments. So, don’t say you can’t find anything for that stylish person in your life. LOUIS VUITTON Celebrate the gift-exchange tradition in style with a present from fashion giant Louis Vuitton. Select the perfect gift from a comprehensive collection that covers small leather goods, watches and jewellery, sunglasses and other accessories, bags in Damier canvas, luxury game sets and many more. View them at Louis Vuitton boutiques.
G2000 Treat yourself this Christmas to a new look with some spiffy outfits from G2000. The men’s and women’s collections will see you through a day of lunch with your family to an evening soiree with the in-laws. Men, smarten up in G2 Black Label that’s available at all G2000 stores islandwide.
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
Time to give
Timepieces make great gifts for any occasion, and at Christmas time, they become more meaningful as people take stock of the past year. Audrey Simon reviews some choice picks.
DANIEL ROTH In September, this Daniel Roth timepiece was the Watch of the Year in the “up and coming brand” category at the Salon International de la Haute Horologerie in Mexico. One look at the Papillon Chronographe and you will be tempted to keep this gift for yourself. This grand complication watch exudes elegance with a touch of sportiness. The timepiece runs on the FP Calibre 1185 base movement specially modified for Daniel Roth.
HUGO BOSS He swims, he runs and he bikes… well, this sporty man will be happy to receive a Hugo Boss Black Chronograph watch. The rugged dial and easy-to-read subdials, as well as the padded and stitched Italian leather straps, will appeal to him instantly.
PATEK PHILIPPE Collectors of high-tech timepieces will be thrilled to unwrap their gift to find the Pulsomax, the first escapement developed in its entirety by Patek Philippe. The technology further improves the performance of the mechanical movements. The case is made of platinum 950, is water-resistant and has a screw-down crown.
A LANGE & SÖHNE German watchmaking company A Lange & Söhne has created the Cabaret Tourbillon, which has a calibre that allows the tourbillon to stop and restart the watch in sleek instant precision. This ensures the accuracy of the tourbillon. An amazing feat and an equally amazing present for your loved one.
ROLEX The man who prefers the classics and drinks only the finest wines should be treated with the finest of timepieces — the Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date by Rolex. The timepiece is made from a block of solid 18ct yellow gold. The case features a unidirectional rotating bezel and is waterproof to a depth of 300m. The watch is equipped with a Parachrom hairspring that is highly resistant to shocks and magnetic fields.
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
CARTIER How about the lovely Santos Demoiselle by Cartier for the beautiful woman in your life? This very feminine timepiece has a purple lacquered dial with the Cartier trademark in the same shade. The Santos collection is one of the brand’s iconic ranges, created in 1904 by Louis Cartier for his friend, aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. You’re not just giving a timepiece as a gift — you are also giving a part of history.
PIAGET Here’s the ultimate gift: You can now personalise the Piaget Polo Tourbillon Relatif timepiece. You can choose the enamel colours that will sit against the white or yellow-gold dial and define the case and dial with your very own preferred designs. That’s not all — the timepiece will be delivered in a customised case, with a duplication of the original designer’s sketch and a certificate signed by Piaget’s CEO Philippe Leopold Metzger, the engraver and the enameller.
GIRARD-PERREGAUX How about a classic vintage timepiece for the love of your life? We recommend the Vintage 1945 watch by Girard-Perregaux. Just look at the amount of work that goes into making this timepiece: A fine layer of enamel powder is applied before it goes through a firing process that has to be carefully monitored. The result is a work of art you can wear. PANERAI Created more than 60 years ago, the Luminor by Panerai is growing in strength year to year. The latest offering is the Luminor 1950 Ceramic 8 Days Chrono Monopulsante GMT 44mm diver’s watch. It has every feature a diver could ask for. It is water-resistant to 100m and the case has a zirconium oxide matt finish and is fitted with a lever bridge made of ceramic that protects the crown from shocks. A great gift for Mr Outdoors.
WYLER GENEVA Here’s a watch company that took the testing of its timepieces to the limit — it dropped one of its shock-resistant mechanical watches 300m from the Eiffel Tower. So, rest assured that when you purchase a Wyler Geneva chronograph, it’s going to be a worthwhile buy. The watch runs on the automatic ETA 2894 movement that has a 42-hour power reserve. A fitting gift for the man who aims high.
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
For Her CLASSIC ROMANTIC SET — Estée Lauder Beautiful Romantic Destination, $160 Who it’s for: One of the world’s top-selling fragrances, this rich floral scent was launched in 1986 and still makes a woman feel special with its rich floral notes. Scent trivia: Made with extract of thousands of flowers, including Bulgarian roses, jasmines, carnations, orange flowers and tuberoses. Holiday package: Beautiful Eau de Parfum Spray (75ml), Perfumed Body Powder (28.3g), Perfumed Body Lotion (100ml), and Bath and Shower Gel (100ml).
YOUNG AND TRENDY SET — Miss Dior Cherie Jewel Box, $282 Who it’s for: Those who love jewellery boxes and scents that are not too heavy. This two-tier box opens up like a ladybird’s wings to reveal three storage compartments. Scent trivia: This saccharine-sweet lighter and modern version of the classic Miss Dior has a fruity top note filled with the aroma of strawberries and mandarins. It marks beauty house Dior’s 100th anniversary. Holiday package: Miss Dior Cherie Eau de Parfum Spray (100ml) and Perfumed Cream (200ml).
SOPHISTICATED ROMANTIC SET — Stella Christmas Set by Stella McCartney, $139 Who it’s for: The confident modern woman who loves the smell of sensual rose. Scent trivia: This feminine and sexy scent is a soft blend of mandarin, soft and uplifting Bulgarian rose and peony, mingled with warm amber. Holiday package: Stella Eau de Parfum (100ml), Crystallized Rose Body Scrub (45g) and Soft Body Milk (75ml).
Package deals No time to wrap your presents? Chin Wee Ping has some great fragrance suggestions that are already tied up in a bow.
For Him MAN OF ALL SEASONS SET — His Favourites by Estée Lauder, $80 Who it’s for: Men who travel extensively for work; and someone who needs different scents for different occasions. Scent trivia: 1. Exhilarating and sensually masculine Lauder Beyond Paradise for Men is filled with a blend of exotic aromatheraphy oils made up of eden mist, eden buchu, eden vetiver and golden melaleuca bark. 2. Vibrant and fresh Lauder Pleasures for Men smells of citrus and herbs blended with rich spices and rare woods such as red ginger and sandalwood. 3. Fresh Lauder for Men is characterised by herby and woody notes of bergamot, cardamom, patchouli and oak moss. 4. Warm and sexy Lauder Intuition for Men is a magnetic fragrance with a woody quality from sage, cedarwood and amber. Holiday package: Lauder Beyond Paradise Men Cologne Spray (15ml), Lauder Pleasures for Men Cologne Spray (15ml), Lauder for Men Cologne Spray (15ml) and Lauder Intuition for Men Cologne Spray (15ml).
TRADITIONAL AUTHORITATIVE LEADER SET — Aramis Ultimate Collection, $122 Who it’s for: The traditional man who loves a mix of bright citrusy notes as well as warm woody notes. Scent trivia: This classic masculine scent features fresh citrus and bergamot, mingled with herbs and spices sage, cardamom, clove and sandalwood. It has lingering warm notes of leather and oak moss. Holiday package: Aramis Eau de Toilette Spray (100ml), After Shave (120ml), After Shave Balm (100ml), Invigorating Body Shampoo (150ml) and Body Shampoo on a Rope (163g).
DISTINCT LEADER OF THE PACK SET — Fahrenheit Travel Kit by Christian Dior, $116 Who it’s for: Confident self-made man. Scent trivia: Use sparingly and for out-of-office occasions, as it can be overpowering — so, you either love it or hate it. However, this vibrant-woody sensual scent marked by mandarin, violet and leather has lots of fans. Holiday package: Fahrenheit Eau de Toilette (100ml), Deodorant Spray (50ml) and Shower Gel Tube (75ml). Chin Wee Ping gave up a hectic full-time career to become a freelance writer
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Gifts That Keep Giving IT’S YOUR DESTINÉE Lee Hwa Jewellery has combined white gold and Destinée diamonds to create a spectacular charm bracelet known as Joy&Luv. When you give a loved one this gift, you will be spreading joy through the Children’s Cancer Foundation, as 5% of the proceeds will go to the foundation. Each charm on this bracelet represents a symbol of the season, such as the bow and snowflake. For more information, log on to www.leehwajewellery.com.
Pay it forward There’s nothing more satisfying than giving a gift this Christmas, knowing that proceeds of the sale will go towards a worthy cause. Audrey Simon has the details. THE MORNING AFTER Aaron le Boutillier was a carefree twenty-something living and working on the island of Koh Phi Phi, Thailand when the tsunami of Dec 26, 2004 changed his life forever. Now living in Singapore, le Boutillier recounts the horrors of the tragedy in his book And Then One Morning, which tells the story of the Oswald family and other characters le Boutillier met while living in Thailand. This year marks the fourth anniversary of the tragedy and, as le Boutillier found out, there are people who are still very much traumatised by the disaster. All author royalties from the sale of this book will go towards helping them. To purchase this book, email info@bigwavepublications or log on to www.bigwavepublications.com.
CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE The Da Vinci Chronograph by IWC is the third of the Edition Laureus Sport for Good Foundation series of timepieces created to help less fortunate children have a better future through sport. The foundation, along with IWC, supports more than 60 projects worldwide. Since it was started in 1999, more than 150,000 children have benefited from it. The projects include Fight with Insight, a boxing project for young offenders in Johannesburg, South Africa that allows them to channel their anger into the sport. In Mumbai, India, children were taken off the streets and given a well-rounded education that included sports, through a project called The Magic Bus Sports Programme. In the spirit of goodwill this season, part of the proceeds of the sale of the Da Vinci Chronograph timepiece will go to this foundation. This well-crafted timepiece has a tonneau-shaped case and runs on an automatic winding movement using the Calibre 89360. It is made of stainless steel, has a blue dial and is available at authorised retailers. An additional gift you can purchase online (www.iwc.com) is the book Let The Children Play published by IWC. This glossy tome is packed with articles and images of children and sports personalities involved in various projects all over the world.
BRAD AND YOU Do you know someone who is a big fan of Hollywood A-lister and father of six Brad Pitt? A gift of the Aloe Vera Biodegradable Liquid Body Cleanser by Kiehl’s ($35) will not only delight the recipient but you as well. All proceeds from the sale of the body cleanser will go towards JPF Eco Systems, a foundation created by Pitt to support global environment initiatives that are kind to the earth through thoughtful design ideas. One of Pitt’s ongoing projects is the building of environmentally sustainable homes for victims displaced by Hurricane Katarina, which occurred in 2005. In line with the “save the environment” message, Kiehl’s body cleanser is Cradle to Cradlecertified. This certification measures a product based on the environmentally safe ingredients used, the packaging materials and the level of biodegradability or reuse of a product. Aloe Vera Biodegradable Liquid Body Cleanser contains no chemicals and comes in a bottle that uses materials derived from F&B containers retrieved in recycling programmes.
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A time for reflection ONG BAN, 42, CEO of Sincere Watch
PICTURES: SAMUEL ISAAC CHUA/THE EDGE SINGAPORE
Sincere Watch Ltd began as a sole proprietorship in 1954 with a single shop along Singapore’s North Bridge Road. From a chain of just four boutiques, the group has grown rapidly and today operates 38 outlets with a distribution network spanning 12 countries. Sincere delivers a comprehensive range of high-quality watches and timepieces. It has successfully innovated and implemented several retail concepts and marketing programmes to meet the varied lifestyle needs of customers throughout the region. What does Christmas mean to you? Christmas is a time of reflection on the past year and more importantly, how my actions and behaviour have affected the lives of others, especially that of my loved ones and family. Also, as a Christian, Christmas is a time to reaffirm my Christian faith and also stay extra close to God. What was your most memorable Christmas? It was 1989 in UK. I was a student then and my plans to travel were messed up, so I ended up spending Christmas all alone in the university. The solitude was unbearable and from that day onwards, I told myself that I would always be surrounded by loved ones and friends every Christmas. What do you hope for next year? Every Christmas, I hope for peace of mind and for more quality time with loved ones. I’d also like to rectify any mistakes I made in the past year and not repeat them. As for work, I only ask for God’s blessing in both personal and professional life, so I ask for God’s grace the next year. I don’t think anyone E can do a better job than God!
HOME for the HOLIDAYS Top decision makers show Audrey Simon their softer side as they talk about the holiday season and what it means to them
The suc La FJ B as B Gu and
Ong at the Sincere Watch Academy
Wh wh In Jew eno
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PICTURES: SAMUEL ISAAC CHUA/THE EDGE SINGAPORE
The miracle of the season NASH BENJAMIN, 58, CEO of public-listed retailer FJ Benjamin The company retails and/or distributes brands such as Banana Republic, CELINE, Guess, Gap, La Senza, Sheridan and in-house label RAOUL. FJ Benjamin also distributes timepieces such as Bell & Ross, Chronotech, Girard-Perregaux, Guess, JeanRichard, Marc Ecko, Nautica, Nike and Victorinox Swiss Army. What is the celebration of Chanukah and what does it mean to you? In 2nd century BC, the Greeks attacked the Jews. When the Jews fled, they only had enough oil for the candle to last one day.
But, by some miracle, the oil lasted for eight days. So, every year the Jewish celebrate this holiday, which is basically the remembrance of the oppression that took place at that time. So we light eight candles, one a night for eight days after sunset, unless it is the Sabbath, then we light the candle before sunset. This year, the first night falls on Dec 21 and the last on Dec 28. Basically, this holiday is celebrated all over the world. In the US, religious people will wish you a Merry Christmas, but with the diversity of people all over the world, people now wish each other Happy Holidays, because it is the holiday of Chanukah as well as Christmas.
How do you combine the two holidays in your family? We do not celebrate Christmas per se, but we live in a community where a lot of our friends celebrate Christmas, so we send them gifts or flowers. Also, over the period of Chanukah, we give the children gifts. As a family, we light the candle every night and we remember the miracle of the oil. What happens on the eighth night? We light the candle and we say a blessing and sing a psalm in relation to Chanukah. After the last candle is lit on the Chanukiah, the family stays home to have dinner, E or we go out.
Nash at home with wife Violet, 48, and son Brian Jacob, 20, one of the Benjaminsâ€™ four children
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‘Magic in the air’ ONG KHEE MENG, 52, managing director of Lianbee-Jeco Pte Ltd The company is the exclusive brand representative of Braun Buffel, master licensee of Renoma in Singapore and Malaysia and licensee of Pierre Cardin in Singapore and Hong Kong. Lianbee-Jeco is also the distributor for Bruno Magli in Singapore and roccobarocco bags and accessories in Singapore and Indonesia. What does Christmas mean to you? Even though I am from a non-Christian family, during this period, I still do feel that there is magic in the air. There is always this good and wonderful feeling surrounding everything. Beneath all the commercialism —with the Christmas lights and décor — and through the happy faces, celebrations, colours of the season… the spirit of the season is still omnipresent. This is definitely a season of love, kindness and generosity. Can you recall your most memorable Christmas? A group of my old friends, actually my classmates from Victoria School, make it a point to celebrate together every year. Two years ago we went to Bangkok. What made it so special was that we also celebrated our 50th birthdays and we are thankful to be healthy at this age. We had great fun, enjoyed a kway teow meal together by the roadside — it brought back a lot of wonderful memories of our carefree school days. How do you plan to spend this festive season? I will definitely meet up with my old friends. My wife’s family plans an open house celebration every Christmas eve, it has become a sort of family tradition. The happiest moment for my wife and me is to see the joy in the children’s faces when they open their presents. That happiness is innocent, simple and priceless! What is your wish for next year? Both personal and professional? Personally, I am most thankful to have a supportive family and a group of good friends. I wish that we can always be happy during this season. Recently, there has been so much terrible news and misery. I wish this season will bring less suffering to everyone, especially to those affected directly. Professionally, the company has prepared for this downturn since the beginning of the year. Yet, in spite of such circumstances, the company will be moving forward, launching more lifestyle merchandise for Braun Büffel in Asia-Pacific. We have also just launched a strong Italian Fashion brand, roccobarocco handbags, in Takashimaya in October and by January, we will launch in Indonesia. So all in all, I wish for better financial times for everyone and that the economic downturn will not be prolonged, because although money is not and should not be the end-goal, the truth is, to live with a level of contentment in this real capitalist world regardless of how simple a person’s expectations are, money is still important to survive. Financial strains are E not healthy for any family’s wellbeing.
Ong with wife Catherine, 52, and son Gregory, 14, at COVA Pasticceria-Confetteria, Paragon
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Hot chicks in 12 tailored dressings! This Yuletide, we’ve tailored our popular flavoured turkeys to tantalize every taste bud with 12 unique dressings ranging from traditional Cranberry and Giblet, Thai favourites such as Lemon Grass and Thai Mango and not forgetting local delights Rendang and Laksa. So flock to Parkroyal with your loved ones for festive buffet feasting and stand a chance to win tickets to watch Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.* For enquiries and reservations on Christmas takeaways and festive menus, call Parkroyal on Beach Road at 6505 5710 or Parkroyal on Kitchener Road at 64283160.
Festive Dining Pricing Parkroyal on Beach Road Festive Periods
Lunch Dinner Lunch
13 to 23 Dec 08
24 Dec 08
25 Dec 08
26 to 30 Dec 08
New Year’s Eve
31 Dec 08
New Year’s Day
1 Jan 09
Parkroyal on Kitchener Road
Honey Baked Ham (1.5kg)
Traditional/ Eurasian/ Ginseng Peranakan/ Sichuan Ham and Wolf Blass Bilyara Shiraz Wine
Turkey and Wolf Blass Bilyara Shiraz Wine
Turkey and Honey Baked Ham
Turkey, Ham and Wolf Blass Bilyara Shiraz Wine
Turkey, Ham and Piper Heidsieck Champagne
Prices are not inclusive of GST & government taxes. Maximum of 4 dressings per order. Orders must be made 3 working days in advance. *Please indicate choice of Turkey.
*Terms and conditions apply.
Parkroyal on Beach Road . Parkroyal on Kitchener Road
www.parkroyalhotels.com KHL.indd 1
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ON CLOUD 9 SK-II Cloud 9 Facial Treatment, $280 for 99 minutes. For an appointment, call 6836 9168 (31 Scotts Road) or 6333 1940 (Raffles City Shopping Centre).
NATURE STUDY Sisley Essential Treatment, $120 for 60 minutes. For an appointment, call 6734 8909 (Sisley counter at Takashimaya).
Soothe tired skin with SK-II’s Cloud 9 personalised facial, which treats your skin while it soothes your rattled nerves. This pampering customised facial uses SK-II formulation, which includes hydration, whitening and anti-ageing, and is complemented by aromatherapy. The organic essential oils penetrate deep into the skin to calm your senses and lift your spirits. The oils used are Uplift blend (Rose Otto, Palmarosa, Geranium) for mature skin and Soothe blend (Chamomile German Blue, Lavender Mont Blanc) for sensitive and all skin types. The most pampering and relaxing part of this wonderful treatment is the extended length of massage using the Marguerite Maury technique. It boosts the benefits of your treatment through better absorption of active ingredients in the SK-II products and organic essential oils, while improving your lymphatic drainage as well as lymph node stimulation.
Nature lovers will enjoy Sisley’s Essential Treatment, which takes you on a relaxing sensorial journey. The treatment uses only the premium Sisley skincare range, which is derived from plant extracts. There are four types of treatments to meet four specific needs. Hydrating Essential Facial re-energises dehydrated skin with products packed with water-retaining plant extracts. Nourishing Essential Facial soothes and nourishes dry and sensitive skin to restore its suppleness. Purifying Essential Facial diminishes the appearance of enlarged pores, while leaving oil-prone and combination skin matte and fresh, with the use of formulations packed with tropical resins known for their cleansing and astringent properties. Radiance Essential Facial restores the skin’s radiance by deep cleansing and clarifying dark and dull skin by removing impurities embedded on the surface of the skin. These aromatic Sisley Essential Treatments also include Thai body pressure point and body muscle awakening massages, and foot reflexology for a complete relaxing treat.
Before the parties begin, get your complexion rejuvenated and revived at these places recommended by Chin Wee Ping
TOTAL LIFT Face Bistro 3D Face Lifting Massage, $288 for 2½ hours. For an appointment, call 6462 4988 (27A Lorong Liput, Holland Village) or 6538 2868 (80 Robinson Road, 01-11).
GO FOR GOLD Leonard Drake Gold Luxury Glow Therapy, $380 for one hour and 45 minutes (optional: upper back massage, $60 for 30 minutes). Make an appointment at your nearest Leonard Drake salon (www.leonarddrake.com.sg/leonarddrake/ about/visit.html). Restore radiance to dull, mature or dry skin by improving its hydration. Leonard Drake’s Gold Luxury Glow Therapy drenches your skin with moisture using 99.99% pure-gold sheets, powerful hydrating agent, patented γ-PGA, and nano mist. The negatively charged γ-PGA and nano mist dissolves the gold. This electric conductivity then causes the huge resource of negative charges in the γ-PGA to attract the ionised gold with positive charges into the skin. This leads to a huge concentration of collagen around the gold to form fine capillaries in the skin that lead to skin-cell regeneration. Fans of this facial are said to leave the salon with increased elasticity, rejuvenated skin, improved skin metabolism and less obvious wrinkles and fine lines. For total relaxation, loosen tight shoulder and back muscles with a half-hour upper-back massage.
A REVIVAL Lancôme Secret De Vie Treatment, $480 for 120 minutes. Make an appointment by sending an SMS to 9113 6838 (Goodwood Park Hotel, Serviced Apartments at 22 Scotts Road) or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Revitalise your skin and mind with Lancôme Secret De Vie treatment at Lancôme Beauty Institute’s multi-sensorial cabin. The Lancôme Secret de Vie formulation is packed with patented extract de vie (a complex of six ingredient-concentrates) to restore six major cell types to smooth out fatigue and re-energise your skin, leaving it smooth, even-toned and radiant. The salon offers a therapeutic environment to further enhance your treatment. As you step into the cabin, its protective cocoon transports you into an environment away from the stresses of modern life — its soothing blue light comes on to initiate you into light therapy that offers serenity. And the alchemy of perfume and music boosts your skin’s receptivity to Secret de Vie’s regenerative powers and massages. A wide array of soothing aromas combines the pleasure of the senses with the power of essential oils, while the therapist’s fingers move to the rhythm of the music, which was exclusively composed by the International Centre of Music Therapy to complement the treatment.
Have fatigue and stress left you too tired for your office Christmas party? Rejuvenate with Face Bistro’s 3D Face Lifting Massage, which realigns your body muscles while smoothening out wrinkles on your face. Using a special Japanese medical technique, this treatment promises to give your face an instant lift by unknotting tight back muscles and relieve body tiredness caused by poor posture. According to Dily Wang, founder of Face Bistro, bad body posture such as slouching causes a domino effect-type of strain on your facial muscles. This is because your back muscles “push” the muscles on your shoulders, neck and face forward, leading to overall tiredness and unbalanced muscles — with some being tight and shortened, and others being weak and overstretched. As the massage realigns your facial, back, neck and shoulder muscles, it relieves tension that built up on your face during the day, and leaves you with lifted facial muscles and better posture. You will walk out of the treatment room a new person. Great for those with desk-bound jobs, 3D Face Lifting Massage is also said to be the secret anti-ageing remedy for ladies who spend most of their nights partying away. The treatment includes a body scrub and full facial. Effects last about a week if treatment is done once every two weeks. E Chin Wee Ping gave up a hectic full-time career to become a freelance writer
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
COVA PASTICCERIA – CONFETTERIA 01-20A Paragon A taste of Milan arrived in Singapore with the opening of Cova in June and since then, the restaurant has garnered rave reviews. This Christmas, it has created a menu that is different yet affordable. On Christmas Eve ($98+++ including a glass of Prosecco and Christmas novelties), dinner is a choice of scallops, goose liver done tempura style (the chef will only reveal that he uses sparkling water to get the batter perfect) with chestnut mousse in the middle and orange sauce drizzled over, Tiger Prawn Ravioli and more. For the Christmas Day set dinner ($68+++ including a glass of Prosecco and Christmas novelties) there is a choice of Wrapped Scallops with Mixed Herb Salad and Black Truffle Sauce, Tender Beef Tenderloin or Roasted Atlantic Cod. For reservations, please call 6733 0777.
10 AT CLAYMORE 10 Claymore Road Fans of this recently opened modern bistro grill at the Pan Pacific Orchard will delight in the knowledge that executive chef Robert Chan will be offering a degustation menu on Christmas Eve. Traditional European Christmas dishes such as beef, foie gras, chestnut and quince will be transformed by his subtle artistry, yet still retaining elements of the festive season. Muscat and foie gras will be served in a rich chicken consommé and slow roasted Angus beef tenderloin drizzled in a red wine jus with light notes of spicy chocolate. The seven-course menu is priced at $88+++ per person. The existing executive set lunch menu will also be given a makeover. Available from Dec 15 to 31, it will include items such as Roast Chicken with Cranberries in Spiced Port and Prune with Armagnac Trifle. For reservations, please call 6831 6686 or email email@example.com.
Eat out & be merry
Dawn Lim has made a list of the best places to eat these holidays. She’s even checked it twice so you don’t have to.
s much as you aspire to be another Nigella Lawson, cooking during the festive season will leave you with no time to spend with guests. Here’s our list of places that serve good food in a great ambience, allowing you to relax and not worry about your soufflé falling flat.
MORTON’S OF CHICAGO 5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square Singapore’s prime steakhouse will open its doors at lunch time for six days in December so you can enjoy more of classic American Christmas tradition. In addition to the a la carte menu, Morton’s has also put together an American Christmas spread in the form of three pre-set lunch menu selections. Priced at $85, $95 and $110 per guest, they feature a salad, entrée and dessert. From the chopped salad to sliced prime rib of beef and New York cheesecake, there is something for everyone. After your meal, don’t forget to do shop. For sale are the Morton’s Steak Bible ($50), a set of six steak knives ($120), gift certificates and its famous pig-lamp ($160) found on every Morton’s dining table. Lunch will be served on Dec 10 to 12 and Dec 17 to 19, from 11.30am to 2.30pm. For reservations, please call 6339 3740.
FAIRMONT SINGAPORE 80 Bras Basah Road The Fairmont Singapore promises a culinary feast over Christmas. At Prego, all things Italian will reign. Treats will include Truffle Scented Roast Beef and Cassata Alla Siciliana. Plaza Market Café offers buffet spreads for lunch, high-tea and dinner, proving that Peranakan flavours do indeed blend with classic holiday recipes. At Szechuan Court, expect a Yuletide-inspired setting with chef Sebastian Goh introducing elements of Christmas into Oriental dishes. Feast on Double-boiled Turkey Ginseng Soup and South African Abalone with Truffle Oil. Joining in the celebrations is Inagiku, with a seven-course Christmas Eve set dinner of Japanese delicacies. For reservations, please call 6431 6156 email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE RITZ-CARLTON, MILLENIA SINGAPORE 7 Raffles Avenue Family takes precedence at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore this year-end. The luxury hotel has come up with a slew of holiday menus for all in the family. Expect champagne brunches, Christmas-themed afternoon teas and oyster nights at the Greenhouse, Summer Pavilion, Grand Ballroom and Chihuly Lounge. Throughout the season, music and Christmas carols sung by carollers will ring through the hallways, adding to the festive spirit. For reservations, please call 6434 5288 or email email@example.com.
AMARA SANCTUARY 1 Larkhill Road Escape to Sentosa this Christmas and celebrate it on the fringe of Palawan Beach at Amara Sanctuary. An international barbeque dinner will be held on Christmas Eve, featuring grills done in Asian, American, European and Australian styles. On Christmas Day, an elegant high-tea will be served in the afternoon for late risers. On both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the Upper Tiers Bar will be serving free-flowing Piper Champagne for any one hour from 9pm to 12.30am at $55, and a free flow of wine for any one hour at $40. Alternatively, relax at the Sanctuary Lounge where there will be Christmas-themed cocktails. For reservations, please call 8825 3866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
1T 902 Cel tran dra sho ber wit
THEEDGE SINGAPORE | DECEMBER 1, 2008 • S21
1 TWENTYSIX 902 East Coast Parkway Celebrate Christmas by the beach at 1 TwentySix. To get into the spirit of the season, the restaurant has been transformed into a winter wonderland, with the theme “White Christmas by the beach”. The interiors are draped in cool shades of blue and silver, enhanced with a sprinkling of dreamy white lights. The star of the show will be a five-course menu of traditional and European dishes. Available for dinner throughout December, it is priced at $120++ per person. The menu starts off with the chef’s special amuse bouche and ends with an eggnog cocktail. For reservations, please call 6348 2126.
PARKROYAL ON BEACH ROAD, 7500 BEACH ROAD Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, 181 Kitchener Road Delectable buffet treats await those who dine at any of the two Parkroyal hotels this holiday season. At Parkroyal on Beach Road, Plaza Brasserie is serving up special spreads on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Expect items such as Roasted Honey Glazed Ham with Pineapple and Cranberry Sauce, Log Cakes and Christmas Pudding. Over at Parkroyal on Kitchener Road, Spice Brasserie will be busy serving lunch and dinner specials from Dec 13 to 23. There will be familiar favourites such as fresh raw seafood, Japanese and Korean cuisine. On Dec 24, the brasserie will be transformed into a Christmas-themed restaurant, and have a carving station, Mongolian barbeque and dessert spread. For reservations, please call 6505 5710 (Parkroyal on Beach Road) or 6428 3160 (Parkroyal on Kitchener Road).
Celebrate with panettone Christmas is a season symbolised by turkeys, roast hams and sinfully rich desserts. But in cosmopolitan Singapore, it would be a crime not to do something different. This year, add some festive cheer to your parties with authentic panettone. A cross between bread and cake, panettone is an Italian Christmas tradition originating in Milan. And COVA Pasticceria—Confetteria hand-makes them every year with creamy butter, fresh eggs and plenty of raisins and candied orange peel. This highly satisfying pastry is available in three sizes: 100g ($12), 500g ($48) and 750g ($71). Or impress your guests with a decorated Santa version at $138. (Note: The Santa panettone requires a week’s advance notice. Call 6733 0777 to place your order.) — By Joan Ng
11/26/08 7:03:18 PM
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
Party perfect MELINA YONG Author of Wine Dinners
or the wine comes first, then work the other around it,” she shares. The rule of thumb, however, is to look for balance. For example, when serving local dishes with spices, such as coconut curry, serve a wine with acidity that can cut through the richness. She has also planned an outdoors hawker-style party, held at their home, for a big group of foreign guests. As it’s not easy to find a caterer who can provide the best of everything, she decided to round up her favourite hawkers on the island, even hunting down a satay seller who makes Hainanese-style satay with chunks of fats
Melina Yong’s superb culinary skills have, in part, contributed to the many stopovers by celebrated winemakers in Singapore. Together with her husband, Dr NK Yong, a renowned wine consultant and writer, she has planned countless dinners at their residence over the last quarter of a century. Ask any of their winemaker friends, and the unanimous response will be that dinner at the Yongs is an unmatched experience. What makes these dinners stand out is the fact that Melina sees to the details personally. And cooking — the hot, oily chore which many are happy to hand over to the maids or catering companies — is a task she embraces. Having been trained in Le Cordon Bleu and attached to various Michelin-star kitchens around the world, she has developed her own style — from authentic Asian, to European cooking with a dash of Asian. “You have to look at who the guests are that you want to entertain,” she advises. When she has overseas winemakers in town, her menu will boast local specialities, such as chil- Melina: Decide whether the food or the wine comes first, then li and pepper crabs. “However, work the other around it if your guests are locals, then I will serve more Western-style dishes, un- sandwiched between the meat pieces. less I know my local friends have been While the hawkers, each operating from travelling in European countries and are their individual booths, would have been dying for some local flavours. In this case, a spectacular experience on their own, I will serve dishes such as chicken rice or she did not forget to include dim sum fish noodles,” she shares. from Four Seasons Hotel, Singapore, in Inevitably, most of the dinners at home the offerings. “Foreigners love dim sum. are centred around wine. “This can be a It’s like tapas to them, so it makes a good chicken or egg situation if you are plan- bridge for them from Western to local flaning the menu. Decide whether the food vours,” she adds.
For a home celebration to remember, take your cue from seasoned hosts Melina Yong and Beppe de Vito. Jenny Tan has the lowdown.
BEPPE DE VITO Owner of Il Lido and Forlino For restaurateur Beppe de Vito, entertaining at home need not always be a stuffy affair. “The most important thing is to spend time with the people you care about,” he points out. At a family affair he hosted last year, he kept the atmosphere relaxed by adopting a sit-down semi-buffet format, with lots of salads and cold cuts. “Where the food is concerned, stay away from trying to impress, or to create a fine-dining experience. Plan the menu such that you can do your mise en place in advance, and all you have to do is to excuse yourself for five minutes from the table and heat up the food or put the finishing touches,” he adds. His favourite dish is pasta with tomato sauce, for which the separate ingredients can be pre-made, and just quickly tossed in a pan. If space allows, he suggests creating an area for cocktails so guests can mingle de Vito: Stay away from trying to impress, or to create a fine-dining experience
once they arrive. “Prepare simple canapés, and make sure there is a free flow,” he adds. Also pay attention to the drinks list, and set up a counter with glassware and let them help themselves to the drinks. “One mistake that people make is to force the guests to start with Champagne, then white and red wine. These things are only done in restaurants. Let people drink what they want, whenever they feel like it,” he adds. For someone with a keen eye for aesthetics, de Vito surprisingly advises that you steer away from the usual flower arrangement and candles. His advice: “If you want to place something on the table, try dried fruits as decoration, so at least the guests can nibble on them. If you want flowers, then place them at other parts of the house or at the side, instead of taking E up space on the table.” Jenny Tan is an independent food and wine writer with an incurable passion for the vinous tipple
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Tackling overindulgence Tis the season for merry-making but for those watching their weight, each party invitation is like yet another round of calorie overload. Indeed, research has shown that people tend to put on weight during the party season. Options taps the expertise of Koay Saw Lan, Singapore General Hospital’s head of dietetics and nutrition services, who observes: “Most patients attending follow-ups at the dietitians’ clinic generally show weight gain; a few may show maintenance weight. “During festivities, with so many treats around, an extra helping of pudding and chocolates or a few more glasses of wine and suddenly all your daily calories can be had in one sitting. Add the temptation of sleeping them off in front of the TV and it’s no wonder people gain an average of 2kg to 4kg over Christmas.” She adds, “In Singapore, there has been an increased awareness and also in the referrals for anorexia [an eating disorder resulting in weight loss] and bulimia nervosa [eating disorder resulting in recurrent binge eating followed by compensatory behaviour such as self-induced vomiting and feasting] management.”
It’s avoidable Aside from the rather drastic solution of rejecting all Christmas party invitations, surely there is a way to avoid this annual gastronomic challenge? Joan Liew, fitness consultant and director of boutique gym Fitness Factory says, “You can attend just two or a maximum of three parties per week. You shouldn’t be partying on consecutive days over two, three weeks!” Koay offers a new perspective to this problem and that is to not make food the focus of the festivities. Instead, get physical and organise non-food related activities such as bowling or walking. And at parties, socialise away from the buffet ta-
Dennis Khng talks to the experts about the dangers of overeating during the festive season. They also offer tips on eating sensibly and adopting an appropriate exercise regime after. ble. Get on the dance floor instead. Koay cautions against dieting during the festive season. “Trying to diet at this time can leave you feeling deprived and lead to bingeing and eating the very foods that you have been avoiding. Whatever you do, don’t go hungry. Ensure that you continue to eat regularly throughout the day, rather than ‘saving it all up’ for one meal. Also try eating a small healthy snack such as an apple before going out for a meal. This will prevent you from ordering too much because you feel hungry.” Interestingly, Koay says it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to send you a message that you are no longer hungry. So wait 20 minutes before you ask for seconds. If you are the host, the dietitian recommends that you not stuff your fridge with tons of food. Buy just enough for the celebration and stock some healthy choices as well. Eat healthy Healthy Christmas food would include starters like hearty soups made from vegetables such as turnips, carrots, tomato, cauliflower, celery and leeks. Salads are the perennial healthy choice. For a change, skip the dressing. Koay says, “Servings of colorful salads work well to balance out your plate. Enjoy yours with a splash of red wine vinegar balsamic dressing, or even just lemon juice to turn it into a healthy meal. Alternatively, arrange colorful vegetables on a platter with a tangy low-fat yoghurt.
Pile on the vegetables such as brussels sprouts, leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes and carrots. These contain antioxidants, which can help protect against heart disease and cancer. Resist the temptation to cover them in butter or any other fatty spread. Remember, frozen, dried and fresh vegetables are tasty; all count towards the recommended five portions a day. “The vegetables give a bulk ‘filling effect’ as well, [which helps to] prevent overeating over the course of the day.” Playing host If you’re cooking for a party, serve healthy snacks such as fresh or dried fruit, reduced-fat crisps or pretzels, and raw vegetable sticks with low-fat dips, non-fat yogurt or fat-free sour cream. Avoid processed, convenience and snack foods and anything that’s high in salt and sugar, advises Koay. “Try experimenting with herbs and spices to flavour food instead.” For main courses, a healthy option is turkey as it is low in fat and high in protein but remove the skin to reduce some fat and calories. Roast the potatoes using less oil and cut them into large chunks so they absorb less fat, Koay continues. “When baking, substitute some or all of the butter or oil with unsweetened applesauce in an equal volume.” What about desserts? If you are going to serve Christmas pudding, serve small portions with low-fat custard. Or serve a baked apple or fresh fruit salad with nat-
ural yoghurt — there are lots of fibre and vitamins in there. What is a party without alcohol? Nonetheless, Koay recommends you go easy. “The average alcoholic drink has 150 to 200 calories per glass. Try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water to cut calories.” Liew adds, “if you have drunk a lot [of alcohol], your body will be dehydrated. Drink lots of water and slowly let the body get rid of the alcohol that’s remaining in the bloodstream.” The day after If you have stuffed your face, the solution to avoiding the impending weight gain is to get the body in balance as soon as possible. Liew cautions, “Usually festive goodies are filled with sugar and the fat content is high. Because of the sugar spike, for the next few days eat as plain as possible to balance your system so there is not much fluctuation in insulin levels.” Don’t overdo it! However, just like overeating after dieting, some may overexert themselves when hitting the gym again after the festive period. In order to shed those excess kilogrammes, you have to return to a fitness regime, stresses fitness consultants Liew and Augustine Lee, who are also bodybuilding champions. “But you have got to do it gradually,” Lee emphasises. “Don’t go all out, as you’ll do more harm than good. Don’t put on extra weights, or run an extra kilometre faster or whatever. You might injure yourself. You’ve got to understand what your body needs and feels.” New Year, less weight After more than a decade as fitness consultants, Liew and Lee have noticed a slight upsurge in gym-goers after Christmas, probably in line with New Year resolutions to lose those pounds. Liew cautions: “Definitely after a [lengthy] break, the person won’t be expected to start off where he left off. In terms of endurance, your cardiovascular strength will taper off. But muscle memory will still be there, you won’t lose it totally but it’s not advisable to start off at the same intensity level when you get back. Intensity should be a little bit lower.” As women tend to put on more weight on their lower body — “their stomach, hips, and bum — an exercise regime after festive binge eating should incorporate lower body exercises”, underlines Liew. For both men and women, “resistance and cardiovascular training is crucial”, Lee says. “We recommend circuit training to utilise the major muscle groups. Working on the major muscle groups will increase your heart rate and endurance as well… but for someone who has not exercised at all before, I would not recommend that. Consult professional trainers and they will recommend an appropriate fitness regime.” So, as you fill in your diary with all those invitations, keep the experts’ tips in mind and perhaps you’ll emerge from the merry-making still healthy and svelte. E Dennis Khng is a freelance lifestyle writer
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
VISOL 2003, BRUT NATURE, FROM $69 Friends@Jelita (293 Holland Road, 02-04, Tel: 6463 1011), Friends@Chomp Chomp (1 Maju Avenue, 01-01A, Serangoon Garden Village, Tel: 6289 2600), Wine Boutique (9 Raffles Quay, Millenia Walk, 01-32, Tel: 6883 2033) Cava, Spain’s answer to Champagne, has long been under the radar. While big brands such as Freixenet have always been in the market, it is only recently that boutique Cava houses have been made available. Visol, which means “wine only”, is made from the usual cepage for Cava: The grapes are Macabeu, Xarel.lo and Parellada. This Cava, the first in history to be sold without the addition of sugar, is a heavyweight and serious bubbly — try leaving it in the glass for a while for aeration first.
BISOL CARTIZZE 2006, $80 Available through Pinnacle Wine & Spirits Pte Ltd (8 Boon Lay Way, 05-04 TradeHub 21, Tel: 6266 1068, email: email@example.com) One of the finer Prosecco houses in Italy is Bisol, whose pride and joy lies in its three hectares of Cartizze vineyards, where the grapes are likened to the grand cru of Prosecco. Lots of refinement here, with rather opulent fruit ripeness and citrus acidity.
AMISFIELD ARCADIA NV BRUT, $80 www.thewineroute.com.sg New Zealand and sparkling wine may not always be the best partners in the wine sphere, but Jeff Sinnott — winemaker of Amisfield — has done wonders with his sparkling. This blend of Central Otago Pinot Noir and Chardonnay is made in part from reserve wines using the Spanish solera method (a complex system of blending older wines with the newer ones). Slightly creamy, pears, red apples and yeasty notes. Absolutely charming.
sparkling fun This year, give the usual bubbly suspects a miss. Jenny Tan recommends six of her favourites to celebrate the season with. GH MUMM CUVEE R LALOU 1998, FROM $380 Restaurants such as Saint Pierre and Saint Julien ’Tis the season for releasing iconic champagnes, and Maison GH Mumm has topped every effort with the revival of the Rene Lalou prestige label, the last vintage being 1985. The 1998 has made a return as the R Lalou and is made, not surprisingly, from the best grapes. Complexity is expected in a champagne of such status, but what makes the R Lalou stand out is the freshness in its acidity, which boosts its stature as a gastronomic bubbly. It’s no wonder that the launch in Singapore at the French ambassador’s house was attended by three-Michelin star chef, Gerard Boyer, who used to helm the top restaurant Les Crayères in Reims, Champagne.
DIEBOLT VALLOIS BLANC DE BLANCS NV, $75 Artisan Cellars (390 Orchard Road, B1-01 Palais Renaissance, Tel: 6838 0373, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.artisan-cellars.com)
SARTORI PROSECCO SPUMANTE BRUT ‘ERFO’, $32 Italian Wine List (www.the italianwinelist.com, Tel: 6314 9472/73)
Served at the launch of this designer-style wine retail space, the hand-picked champagne to flow that night was this surprise blanc de blancs, a grower’s champagne (not produced by the big champagne houses). This perfumed, floral bubbly tastes like it would set you back $100, but actually cost much less. Now, that’s value-for-money.
There comes a time when one needs to buy bubbly at, well, affordable prices. Heavyweight Italian winery Sartori has released the first vintage of this bubbly, so this could well be the answer. Made from the quicker and cheaper charmant method instead of bottle fermentation, it is a likeable and happy E drink with floral and apple flavours.
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Great gifts come in great packaging, as Audrey Simon finds out from two wine companies that have created special packages for the festive season
f the bubbles in sparkling wines and champagne go to your head really fast, you might want to consider other options, such as wines. The perennial favourite is enjoyed with friends over a gourmet meal, and what better time to do this than at year-end, when everyone is just so happy that another year has ended and a new year is just around the corner. Here are two suggestions that you might want to consider.
WYNDHAM ESTATE Wine lovers can expect only the best Shiraz from Wyndham Estate, as this is the birthplace of the full-bodied grape. On offer this festive season are the Bin 555 Shiraz 2005 and Bin 888 Cabernet Merlot 2004. This twin offering ($57) comes in an attractive packaging that has a limited edition wine opener. Tastewise, the Bin 555 Shiraz 2005 starts with fruity berry flavours and ends with a long, smooth finish. The Bin 888 Cabernet Merlot 2004 is a full-bodied drink laced with ripe blackcurrants and cassis.
Unique Venues JEWEL IN THE MOUNT Experience “winter” at the annual The Jewel Christmas Musical Light and Snow Show at The Jewel Box on Mount Faber. This spectacular show uses special technology to synchronise the music with the lights as well as with the live talent on stage. The grand finale of the show is the lighting of the 61m artificial Christmas tree. Conservationists need not worry as the tree uses 120,000 energy-saving LED light bulbs. Watch for the tiny artificial snowflakes floating around you as enjoy the performance. Besides taking in the awe-inspiring light, music and snow extravaganza, you have a choice of four thematic F&B venues. At the Magical Kingdom, the well-known al fresco bar Moonstone bathes revellers in gleaming blue-and-white lights. Winter Dreams houses two new restaurants, Sapphire and Empress Jade, where you can savour fine wine and tuck in to sumptuous culinary creations. As the name suggests, the Jewel Castle is built to resemble a castle that is straight out of the pages of a fairy tale. On the castle grounds, visitors can take part in fun carnival-like games. End the evening with a stroll along the wooden decks of the Ice-land, and enjoy the unobstructed view of the city. Pick up a souvenir at the retail store to remember the unforgettable winter Christmas spent at The Jewel Box.
JACOB’S CREEK From the Barossa Valley in South Australia, Jacob’s Creek wines are perhaps the most popular because of its rich history (150 years in the making) and the quality wines it consistently produces. This year, the company has launched the Jacob’s Creek Festive Pack ($42.80) that pairs two great wines: Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon and Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet. Serve the Jacob’s Creek Cabernet Sauvignon for an easy-going evening with friends, as this drink has a delightful mix of mint, blackcurrant and dark berries. The Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cabernet is a medium-bodied wine that is easy on the palate as you taste a subtle mix of ripe plum, berry fruits with spicy notes.
Be entertained Ellen Lokajaya offers two different ways to spend the festive season with family and friends FLYING HIGH Celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve in your very own private capsule aboard the Singapore Flyer. Sip on premium champagne while you take in the view of the spectacular skyline at 165m in the air. Here are some festive offerings. For a magical Christmas celebration, enjoy free flow of champagne, strawberries and log cake with the Silver Christmas Champagne Flight package. Or upgrade to the Gold Christmas Champagne Flight package, which offers an al fresco buffet at the VIP lounge and balcony, accompanied by entertainment.
The Christmas packages starts from $2,500 and is available for bookings. Nothing beats ringing in the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display during the countdown while sipping champagne, and nibbling on strawberries and chocolates. Party on to the early morning at the balcony on the third level, where guests will have access to the designated party area and F&B. The New Year’s Eve Countdown Champagne Flight package starts from $4,500 and is available from Dec 26. For more information, call 6333 3311 or visit www. singaporeflyer.com.
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| DECEMBER 1, 2008
Have a green Christmas Joan Koh recommends that you travel with a conscience this season. Here are some hotels that aim to be eco-friendly.
SHANGHAI, CHINA An eco-wonderland in the middle of an urban jungle? China’s first carbon-neutral hotel is a 1970s warehouse-turned-post office-turned-hotel with just 26 rooms styled around a contemporary Shanghainese theme. The four-storey hotel is design driven —in fact, it’s so chic, you would never associate it with the green label. It is retrofitted with as much sustainable and recyclable materials as possible. Admirably, owners Scott Barrack and Jules Kwan’s goal is to be “at the forefront of promoting environmental awareness, protection and sustainable buildings within the hotel industry”. Old bricks from Suzhou houses and factories line the hallways; mahogany flooring from 1920s Shanghainese houses paves the hotel; roof tiles salvaged from old Suzhou buildings decorate the bar and lobby; and even the elevator is a second-hand piece. If you want to get really technical, walls are painted with non-toxic paints, a water-based air-conditioning system uses less harmful coolants and there’s extensive foliage — ivy, for instance, crawls on the south side of the hotel as part of a “green walling” initiative. Energy consumption -- including the daily commute by staff — is diligently tracked and carbon footprints are offset through the purchase of credits in green energy developments and emission reduction projects throughout China to neutralise the footprints. Rates from RMB1,400 ($313) a night; Christmas promotion RMB1,888, including Christmas dinner; www.urbnhotels.com
BAMBU INDAH Bali, Indonesia Denizens of the urban jungle may squirm at the thought of swimming in a pool with frogs and fish (the water is chemical-free and this pool is essentially a hole in the earth lined with recycled black rubber membrane then filled with lava stones), or sleeping to some incredibly loud songs from insects you would rather not come face to face with (there’s no TV or stereo to drown the constant buzz). The environ is unspoilt: Steps at the valley edge lead to Ayung River, where you can bathe full monty with the locals; or cross the river and you get to vast, tranquil rice fields. At turndown, staff bring you a carafe of water instead of plastic bottled water (triple-filtered using reverse osmosis and colloidal silver). Toiletries and mozzie repellent (they are organic and
chemical-free, too) also come in glass bottles. There’s an organic herb and vegetable garden, and jeweller-turned-hotelier and conservationist John Hardy’s gems are the four old houses he transplanted from Java, all beautifully restored and preserved. Bamboo, possibly the most sustainable natural resource on earth, is generously — and creatively — used everywhere. The handsome Minang House, which easily doubles as an open-concept MICE location, is constructed entirely from black bamboo. The Hardys also run the sustainably managed Green School, offering holistic education for pre-schoolers through Year Eight — monetary contributions to fund scholarships, various environmental projects and a medical centre are welcome. Rates from US$200 ($303) a night; festive rates an additional US$50 a night; www.bambuindah.
LANGHAM PLACE ECO RESORT & SPA Koh Lanta, Thailand It’s not the most accessible place: Koh Lanta is two hours by ferry from Phuket or at least two hours from Krabi, depending on your mode of transportation. Relative seclusion, excellent marine life and stunning seascape are Krabi’s best-kept secrets. Just dive in to remind yourself why these underwater beauties should be protected. The 185-room seaside resort, lushly landscaped and carved on a hillside, feels like a little self-sufficient eco-resort (the Langham Hotels group has the lofty goal of becoming the greenest hotel chain). Cooking oil here is given a new lease of life as biodiesel: Five gallons of treated cooking oil from the resort’s kitchens are used to power the water pumps and tuk tuk vans; and the florist supervisor has cleverly substituted candles with used cooking oil to light the lamps. Solar energy powers the 10 electrical golf carts (there are plans to harness solar energy more efficiently throughout the resort) and non-hazardous cleaning materials — soaps and detergents — are diligently used. Recycling is big: Garden waste is collected and composted, treated water from the kitchens goes to the plants, and plastic oil drums find new use as fishing buoys and landing pad markers for seaplanes. Promotional rates from THB19,000 ($828) a night; www.krabi.langhamplacehotels.com
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ANGSANA VELAVARU Maldives From May to September, the critically endangered Green Sea turtles nest at Angsana Velavaru. The equally rare Hawksbill turtles do it all year round. Angsana’s guests are invited to watch the hatching process but it’s pretty much a see-no-touch activity. In other areas, you can be as hands-on as you want to be. These folks are seasoned marine conservationists: Sister resort Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru set up a marine lab in 2003 manned by five full-time staff (the lab conducts sea turtle conservation, and tagging and satellite tracking of sea turtles in the Maldives, among other eco-initiatives). There’s reef cleaning once a month and the four thriving coral gardens planted by the resort remind you why the precious marine ecosystem should be zealously con-
served. Their efforts have paid off — some areas are recovering from coral degradation. Angsana’s green programmes aren’t just under water. Their goal is to plant 2,000 trees a year. For the more passive guest, there’s a Green Imperative Fund (GIF) to ease your conscience: A US$1 ($1.53) charge is added to your bill for every room night occupied and the hotel matches your donation dollar for dollar. The GIF at Angsana Velavaru funds the battery backup for desktop computers at three local schools (at the moment, GIF from all 24 Angsana and Banyan Tree hotels are diverted to the Sichuan Earthquake Fund till end-2009). As part of the first anniversary promotions, a onefor-one promotion is available till February 2009; rates start from US$160 per person per night; www.angsana.com
LIGHTHOUSE HOTEL & SPA Galle, Sri Lanka The Jetwing group, which operates 10 hotels in Sri Lanka — three are Small Luxury Hotels of the World — has long been championing Sri Lanka’s wildlife tourism through Jetwing Eco Holidays, the country’s leading wildlife tour operator. Bird watching, primate safari and wildlife photography are what they do regularly. The group is known particularly for its environmental sensitivity. The seaside Geoffrey Bawa-designed Lighthouse, for example, has gone all out to work closely with the local community: tuk tuk drivers in the Galle area have been trained to meet the hotel’s service standards; and the hotel shop avoids stocking products that can be bought locally, so it doesn’t compete with local businesses. Among other green initiatives, solar heating is used in the spa (it also uses water-saving cisterns), disposal of solid and liquid wastes is studiously managed, the use of plastic has been reduced drastically (herbal toiletries are dispensed in ceramic bottles and paper straws are used for beverages) and biodegradable chemicals are used for pest control and cleaning agents. Guests are encouraged to participate in the hotel’s green effort by separating degradable and non-degradable trash in the room. Rates from US$138 a night; festive rates from US$549; www.jetwing.com
SHANGRI-LA RESORTS Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia At Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria, you can spend the morning bird watching and admiring the views of Kota Kinabalu in a 64-acre nature reserve just five minutes’ walk from your room. Then check out the orangutan rehabilitation centre at the foot of the hill to see how the gentle apes have been nursed back to health by dedicated rangers. Entrance fees to the nature reserve fund the orangutan rehabilitation programme. And for a small fee, you can plant a wild fruit tree in the rainforest, too. At Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru in downtown Kota Kinabalu — considered a city hotel, though wonderful landscaping lends a more idyllic impression — paper bags are favoured over plastics, food and garden wastes are composted, and five adopted schools learn DIY environmental initiatives from the hotel. This Shang has also adopted World Wide Fund For Nature, specifically to protect giant pandas in southwest China — so donate generously to the Panda Box. Rates for Rasa Ria are from RM570 ($242); festive rates from RM950. Rates for Tanjung Aru are from RM435 a night; festive rates from RM1,140; www.shangrila.com
SIX SENSES HIDEAWAY YAO NOI Phuket, Thailand Some jungle resorts look far too posh and manicured. Not the Six Senses Hideaway Yao Noi — it flies the “rustic, intelligent luxury” flag proudly. The exuberant wilderness is part of the charm and so is the architecture — built completely with local materials — that invites the environs into all 56 open-concept villas, restaurants and spa. Natural insect repellent and sprays are provided (the lemongrass scent is thoughtfully worked into the body lotion), flashlights are rechargeable and a small organic menu offers produce from the resort’s own organic herb and vegetable garden. All Six Senses resorts have recently
stopped importing branded bottled water. They produce on-site their own still and sparkling drinking water using the Classic Crystal system. The swimming pool uses saline salt as a sanitation medium (so it’s kinder to your skin while being green); airconditioning is kept minimal (the three restaurants and bars are naturally ventilated); nine golf carts operate with rechargeable batteries; composting and fertilising of garbage are done in an in-house waste collection and handling centre. Rates from THB23,500 a night; festive rates from E THB33,100; www.sixsenses.com Joan Koh is a freelance travel and wellness writer